Dorothy awoke to Toto licking at her face. She giggled as she opened her eyes and sat up to pet him.
"Good morning, Toto," she said as she took the little black dog in her arms and hugged him as he wagged his tail.
She got out of bed and went over to her window, and pulling back the curtains she felt the hot sunshine of the Kansas summer filter into the room. She looked out at the great dusty flat gray prairie she and her family had lived on all their lives.
She turned away from the window and looked back at her room. It was a simple bedroom with not much in it and it seemed to be as gray colored as it was outside.
She sighed as she looked down at Toto in her arms and then set him down on the floor. "Another gray day," she said.
She dressed in her favorite blue and white checked gingham dress and then went downstairs for breakfast. As she sat around the table with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and their hired farmhands everyone talked and joked and laughed as if everything was alright with the world. Except everything wasn't at all.
Ever since the tornado they had practically been in ruins because the strong damaging winds of it had uprooted most of their crops and ripped through a great deal of the cornfield, and had even killed or injured a number of their livestock, and of course right now they couldn't afford to buy more.
Dorothy could see that everyone preferred to not think about their problems and to make the most of what they had now and so the subject was not brought up by anyone until that afternoon.
Dorothy stood in what was left of the cornfield as she was helping Hunk Andrews, one of their farmhands set up their new scarecrow. The scarecrow had just been finished being stuffed full of fresh straw which was stuffed into a pair of old boots and old brown trousers and a worn and patched green shirt and an old burlap sack for its head which had two eyes painted on with blue paint and a three-cornered nose and a smiling mouth and on its head was an old battered black hat.
"There! Now he looks just as good as any real man, wouldn't you say?" said Hunk as they lifted the scarecrow and fastened him to the pole in the center of the cornfield.
Dorothy nodded as she couldn't help but think of how much the scarecrow reminded her of her dear friend in Oz.
"He ought to frighten away those pesky crows from eating the corn," Hunk added, seeming proud of their handiwork.
"Sure," said Dorothy. "What's left of it anyway," she added soberly.
Hunk turned his prematurely lined face with its kindly blue eyes to Dorothy and smiled sympathetically. "Ah, don't you be worrying about it, Dorothy," he said as he put his arm around her in a comforting gesture. "We can get through this if we just use our heads. I mean as soon as the new colt is born and ready to sell we should be able to afford new seeds and then when it rains we'll be better off than we were before!"
"But what if it doesn't rain?" asked Dorothy.
Hunk was about to respond when suddenly they heard the voice of Hickory Twicker as he was approaching them along with a slight squeaking sound following him.
"We'll have no fear of no rain anymore!" he declared with a tone of pride in his voice.
They looked in his direction and saw him pushing some sort of contraption up with him which looked like a large metal barrel supported upon two smaller and thinner metal barrels with wheels attached. Two long cranks were sticking out of the sides like arms and there was a large funnel on the top of it.
"What have you got here, Hickory?" asked Dorothy, eying the machine curiously.
"This," he announced. "Is my rain maker!"
"Oh no!" Hunk groaned. "Not another of your crazy inventions!"
"So my wind machine didn't really work out," Hickory went on patiently. "But this one is guaranteed to work as I have already tested it. I tell you this contraption really has a heart of its own!"
"Really?" asked Dorothy eagerly. "Could you give it a try now?"
"It will be my pleasure!" Hickory smiled. He then began turning the left arm of the machine and loud whirring and clinking noises could be heard coming from inside of the large metal body and steam began to pour out of the funnel at the top.
"You'll see!" Hickory exclaimed. "In just a moment we'll have big thick clouds of..."
Just then the machine made a loud popping noise kind of like a car does when it backfires and dark smoke poured out of the funnel top and suddenly a rush of oil squirted out of the end of the arm Hickory had been cranking and splattered onto his face.
Dorothy and Hunk tried their best to hold back their laughter as Hickory took out his handkerchief to wipe off his face. "It seems to still have a few rusty places!" he exclaimed sulkily. "But I'll work it out! You just wait and see!"
"Sure, Hick, sure," Hunk said good-naturedly.
Dorothy went to feed the chickens and found Zeke shooing them into their roost.
"Get in their you feather heads!" he exclaimed.
Dorothy looked down at the them somberly. "What are we going to do, we lost so many chickens and chicks to the storm we don't have much eggs to sell."
"Be brave, Dorothy," said Zeke. "We can always breed some new chicks. And if those stupid bankers come calling on us, why I'll just scare them away from here!"
"How will you do that?" Dorothy wanted to know.
"Why, I'll... I'll... uh..." he tried to think of what he would do.
Just then Hunk and Hickory crept quietly up behind him unnoticed and then they both in unison exclaimed "Boo!" as loudly as they could.
Zeke let out a frightened yell as he jumped up and looked around him gasping for breath. He then turned and found his two co-workers laughing their heads off at their little prank.
"That's not funny, guys!" he exclaimed indignantly. "You nearly made me jump out of my coveralls!"
That evening when Dorothy went into her bedroom again she found it to be quite dark and so reached over and turned on a lamp nearby thus giving some light to the darkness. Once she could see she was quite startled to find someone standing in her room.
She let out a short gasp and it took a moment for her to recognize the person standing before her but then the realization of who it was came to her.
"Why Mr. Wogglebug!" she exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Hello Dorothy," he said smiling quickly and then he reached towards her almost pleadingly. "There is no time to explain, you must come back with me."
"Back to where?" she asked.
"Why back to Oz, of course!" he exclaimed with urgency.
"Why, what's wrong?" she asked with concern. "Are my friends in trouble?"
"No, no," he assured her quickly. "You're friends are just fine, but it is she who we have got to worry about." As he spoke he took out a small picture from his vest pocket and showed it to her. It was of a young girl of Dorothy's age with long hair in flowing ringlets with two poppies on either side of her head and wearing a small crown.
"Who is she?" asked Dorothy wonderingly. "Is she a princess?"
"Yes, indeed," said Mr. Wogglebug. "She is the princess and the rightful of Oz, both yours and mine. Now, come we must hurry."
So Dorothy went to her closet and took out a small trunk in which she kept her Ruby Slippers. She took them out and put them on. Then taking hold of the Wogglebug's hand she clicked the heels together three times and chanted, "Take us to Oz!"